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Monday, December 22, 2014

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Nest, The Smarter Home Thermostat


Nest programmable thermostatWith the busy lives that we live, people find themselves forgetting things like locking the door and turning off the lights. But forgetting to lower the heat while you’re away is no longer something to worry about with Nest. Now there are many home thermostats on the market, but what sets Nest apart is that it is a learning thermostat. After a week of use, Nest will know your habits and make adjustments for you. For those who want control you can use the Nest mobile app on your smart phone to control your nest while away.

Nest thermostat

Currently however the app is only available for Apple products but an android version should be rolling out sometime in December. The app allows you to change the temperature, control up to ten thermostats in two homes, check and adjust your schedule, see and change settings, put Nest into and out of away mode and show you a Nest leaf when saving energy. Remote changes are just like in home ones, Nest will learn these too and do it for you next time.

Nest app on smartphone

Nest learns based on what you teach it; it’s as simple as that. To teach Nest simply live as you would for a week, turning the dial to the right to make it hotter and to the left to make it cooler. After a week Nest will learn what temperatures you like and when you like them and change your thermostat for you … optimizing and saving you up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. So for those who are absent minded like me, having a piece of technology in your home that can remember for you is great and makes money saving habits easier to maintain. (more…)

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

green furniture: handmade mid century modern


moderncre8ve walnut table

Artisanal furniture maker and designer, Chris Williams, and his company Moderncre8ve create sweet, mid-century handcrafted furniture that’s evocative of some of our favorite 1950’s Heywood Wakefield pieces.

moderncre8ve walnut table

Most of the furniture pieces (pictured above and below) are created from FSC-certified black walnut and made to order. No filler, plywood or veneers found here – the furniture is made of solid, high quality walnut. Many pieces are finished with Danish oil and beeswax. Love the simple lines and craftsman construction.

moderncre8ve dresser

moderncre8ve walnut coffee table

The clean, modern pieces are handmade in the company’s Cleveland, Ohio workshop and sold via Chris’s Etsy shop.

moderncre8ve coffee table

related: more eco-friendly furniture featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pulling Water out of Thin Air – Sustainable Condensers Create Drinkable Water


elowater turbine

Fresh drinking water is a disappearing commodity for many people of the world. In fact, some 750 million people in the world lack access to safe drinking water. With current climate changes the desperation for water is expected to increase. This need has triggered the rise of numerous new technologies. Most promising are those that are self-efficient. The following devices function by condensing fresh water right out of thin air – utilizing renewable energy to get the job done.

water from wind

Since 2011 Eolewater has been developing the WMS1000  a wind turbine that powers itself using the wind and collects water from the humidity in the air. The WMS1000 has been able to collect an average of 62 litters an hour of fresh water in 45 percent humidity at 24 degree Celsius. After being able to produce 1000 liters a day of freshwater the turbine is currently being shipped to Abu Dhabi for the first phase of tests in extreme weather conditions. If successful, the WMS1000’s wind powered water collection can be implemented bring fresh water to people in need.

NERIOS S3

Eolewater also has systems that harness solar to power water collection. The NERIOS S3 is a solar powered water condenser. It’s the newest model and boasts 28 individual solar panels. Its ice storage system means that no battery is needed for when the sunlight is not available.

fontus condenser

Also harnessing the power of the sun  is another invention called Fontus. Designed by Kristof Retezar a Austrian industrial design student; Fontus is a solar powered water condenser for your bike.

fontus self filling

Fontus attaches to the frame and when you ride air flows in through the filter, is cooled, water condenses then drips down into the removable bottle. Offering a way to allow bicyclists to ditch the camel-packs and make their own water as they ride.

fonuts design

In 50 percent humidity at a minimum temp of 68 degrees Fahrenheit Fontus can condense at a rate of 1 drop per minute. However it currently lacks an additional filter to prevent pollutants from being in the water so it’s not recommended for use in an urban setting. At a price point of 25 to 40 dollars for a unit it might be a fun investment for the alternative bicyclist.

These technologies all address a growing problem in different ways. With our need for fresh water growing by the day inventions like these might save rivers and groundwater from being tapped.  They can also create a water source for people that live in even the driest of environments. Although water collection from humidity is more practical in areas where humidity is high, these strides are perhaps a step in the right direction.

related: more green design projects featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

eco art: reclaimed pallet wood wall hanging


reclaimed pallet wood wall hanging

Bring a little rustic charm into your home with an eco-friendly wall hanging made of reclaimed wood (above and below). North Carolina-based woodworking artist Jason McNeill makes a handsome array of handcrafted furniture and art primarily from reclaimed pallet wood.

eco art reclaimed pallet wood wall hanging

McNeill often paints a lovely tree and accompanying text on his pieces. Most of the work is fully customizable – with the color of the stain and hand painting customized to match the buyer’s decor. The 60″x 34″ wall hanging is perfect for a dining room or living room wall. Each tree is unique. $400 @ Indian Beach Wayfarers

By purchasing furniture and art made from reclaimed wood you can help preserve living trees, while capturing the character and charm often inherent in reclaimed wood.

related: more eco-friendly home decor items featured on The Alternative Consumer

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Monday, December 1, 2014

This Eco-Friendly Water Bottle Heats Your Drink Just by Shaking!


Warm Tech bottles

How often have you been suffering through the cold weather at some sort of sporting event or outdoor excursion, while clutching onto your once-warm and cozy thermos? If you were unfortunate enough to be stranded at home, snowed in, and without power through this young season’s already devastating snowfalls, you can relate to this as well. There are some super-high-quality containers out there to choose from — each new model promising to keep your hot coffee or tea warmer for a longer period of time, but they have each been restricted by the amount of they can keep a beverage hot, until now.

Warm Tech info

The Warm Tech Bottle introduced in last year’s Lite-On Award competition in China allows you to keep your hot beverage warm simply by shaking the bottle! A talented, four-person design team from the Tainan University of Technology was awarded the Silver Award for the Warm Tech Bottle, which they say, “aims to facilitate outdoor users to get warm water easily.” (more…)

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